Placement FAQs for COVID-19

PLACEMENTS - HEALTH

The University is working closely with and following Department of Health (DH) advice about health student placements.

On-site placements will be subject to additional COVID safety measures, as host organisations need to confirm for La Trobe that they are complying with the government’s COVID-19 WorkSafe advice. The Placement Operations Team will be in regular contact with general updates and will contact you if your placement is affected as a result of COVID-19.

Please contact the placements team or your subject coordinator if you have any specific questions.

What is the vaccination requirement for health placement?

National Cabinet agreed on 28 June that it will be mandatory for all aged care workers to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September. Students working in aged care settings should take the necessary action.

My placement is on the border community, is it impacted?

The New South Wales government has announced Albury is going into a seven-day lockdown which may impact some Nursing and Dentistry students. Students should contact the SHE placement team SHEWorkIntegratedLearning@latrobe.edu.au

Following the recent partnership between the private and public health sectors; Will international students continue to be covered under their private health insurance?

In general, international students with private insurance will continue to receive medical treatment under their private health insurance (subject to T&Cs of their individual policies).

I am volunteering in the medical industry – will LTU’s insurance cover me if I contract COVID-19?

No, volunteers must be insured under the insurance of the organisation they are volunteering for.

TEACHING AND OTHER NON-CLINICAL PLACEMENTS

Is my placement be affected?

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Placements

Students will be contacted directly with advice. Commencement and continuation of placement will depend on the particular circumstances of the placement and placement provider.

Non-clinical/Non-Initial Teacher Education Work Based Learning (WBL) placements

Student undertaken WBL Placements outside of clinical health or initial teacher education settings (e.g. in IT, Engineering, Science, non-clinical Health, Agriculture, Law, Business and Humanities) will be contacted directly with advice. Commencement and continuation of placement will depend on the particular circumstances of the placement and placement provider.

WBL guidelines and requirements are being regularly reviewed and updated in response to government advice on COVID-19. Weekly emails are being sent to all placement students to provide information on placement restrictions. As a placement student, you must read these weekly emails carefully and act in accordance with La Trobe and government requirements for placement at all times.

If you have queries related to your WBL placement, please contact:

SHE: SHEWorkIntegratedLearning@latrobe.edu.au

ASSC: assc.internships@latrobe.edu.au

How do I stay safe on my placement?

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, including those completing approved course-related placements, is our highest priority. To stay safe on your placement, you must follow the protocols put in place by your placement organisation, which should be in line with the government’s COVID-19 WorkSafe advice as explained here. You should maintain a safe social distance (1.5 metres), sanitise your hands regularly, wear face mask as required, clean your work surfaces and monitor yourself for any symptoms. Do not attend placement if unwell. The University will assist you to replan a placement if it cannot be completed.

Do I need to undergo PCR testing for my ITE placement?

If you are required to move between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria for your ITE placement, you should undergo twice weekly PCR testing. Please contact the ASSC placement team if you have any queries.

PLACEMENTS - GENERAL

What happens if my placement is postponed or cancelled?

If your placement facility/educational setting/host organisation postpones or cancels your placement as a result of COVID-19 you will receive an email from the Placement Operations team notifying you of this. Academic staff and the Placement Operations team are working collaboratively on alternative placement options. Individual plans will be communicated to any affected students by your Placement Officer.

For health placements, it is likely that there will be significantly delay in finding alternative option due to the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare facilities.

For non-clinical placements, cancellations will be handled on a case-by-case or subject-by-subject basis, and the options available to you should be discussed with your subject coordinator, WIL team or Placement Operations team.

For Teacher Education placements, you are able to continue with your subject and your result may be entered as SAHA (Supplementary Additional Hurdle Assessment) on your transcript until the placement hurdle has been successfully completed.

If I am required to complete my placement from home, are there any steps I need to follow?

Yes. You will be sent an OH&S guide/self-assessment and some tips for safely and successfully completing a placement off-site. You should review the checklist and use it to ensure you have a safe and productive home workspace. You should also ensure that you have regular contact with both your subject coordinator and your host supervisor.

Will professional accreditation be impacted?

The University is working closely with professional accrediting bodies to ensure that any changes to your subjects or placements do not negatively affect accreditation.

If I am feeling even slightly unwell, or have COVID-19 symptoms, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results, or have been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19, or are positive for COVID-19, should I attend placement?

If you are feeling unwell, do not attend placement. No matter how mild the symptoms, you should stay at home.

If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (including fever, cough, sore throat, chills, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell), however mild, you should:

  • self-isolate immediately
  • seek medical advice from your GP or the Department of Health 24-hour coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398, and get tested
  • tell your placement organisation, your La Trobe Placement Operations Team and the University Manager, Health Safety and Environment (Spomenka Krizmanic email: s.krizmanic@latrobe.edu.au or 0447 323 256) as soon as possible, following the procedures your workplace has in place and updating both parties if your situation changes (for example if you receive a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis).

It is crucial that you do not attend University campus or your placement, or anywhere else, until you are advised it is safe for you to do so.

If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a primary or close contact of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 you must:

  • follow the instructions provided by Department of Health and
  • tell your placement organisation, inform your La Trobe Placement Operations Team and the University Manager, Health Safety and Environment (Spomenka Krizmanic email: s.krizmanic@latrobe.edu.au or 0447 323 256)) as soon as possible, following the procedures your workplace has in place and updating both parties if your situation changes (for example if you receive a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis).

If you are unable to attend your placement because you are unwell, regardless of the cause, you must contact your course coordinator and La Trobe University placement coordinator to advise them. We will work with the placement provider to assist you to complete the required hours/assessments at a later date.

What if I am in a high-risk category of contracting COVID-19 or I have carer responsibilities for others who are in a high-risk category and can’t attend placement?

Please provide medical documentation to the Placement Operations team and they will discuss the most appropriate arrangements.

Can I opt out of placement?

Where you have significant concerns for your health and wellbeing, or the health and wellbeing of others living in your home, you can choose to opt-out of placement.

However, it’s important to note that completing your accredited program of study requires completion of all approved activities (including professional placement). Your course progression and completion date may be affected by your choice to opt-out at this time, so it is important to seek guidance from your year or course coordinator. We cannot guarantee when an alternative placement will be available, so if you are currently in your final year of study, opting out may delay your course completion so that you graduate and/or become registered for your profession later than you expected.

Opting out of placement will not result in a fail for the placement subject. The exact arrangements will depend on your specific course and registration requirements. Your subject and course coordinators are working through these issues and will communicate with you via the LMS and individually as required. The most likely scenario is that we will organise for you to receive a 'Grade Withheld' (W) result for the subject associated with your placement until the placement requirements have been completed. We will work with the placement provider to assist you to complete the required hours/assessments at a later date.

If you are considering opting out, you will need to:

  • Discuss this with your placement supervisor and La Trobe subject coordinator, and also contact the Placement Operations team, if you are already on placement.
  • Contact your La Trobe subject coordinator or year coordinator by email, if you are not yet on placement.
  • Complete the online form and upload a copy of the email correspondence with your subject or year level coordinator as a supporting document.
  • Where possible, please notify us of your decision to opt-out at least one week before a placement is due to commence.